I’m not happy because I’m not helping.
I’ve lost most of my nicotine tolerance. I know this because I just smoked less than half of an American Spirit I had bummed and then shorted the other night. Tonight I wasn’t springboarding from an alcohol buzz. I wasn’t mindlessly following familiarity, ignoring anesthetized inhibitions, sucking it down as an accessory to a barely-remembered conversation. I smoked it slowly and alone. And this time, I felt it. I felt that “first buzz” again. Minimal health impact, maximal concentration. I appreciated it in a way I hadn’t for a long time.
There are resolutions, and then there’s stubbornness. I made the choice to step back from the addiction to gain some perspective, to prove to myself that I don’t really need the thing that I used to need… but there’s a huge difference between wanting and needing. And I can always make a conscious choice to take in the entirety of an experience, whatever it is that I want to do.
The balance lies somewhere between that first buzz and getting caught up in the increasingly-futile search for what it was. It’s something I can, do, and will, moderate. It’s easy to dismiss this as rationalization for pursuing a no longer fashionable vice, but I don’t see a whole lot of people going “cold turkey” on TV, chocolate, politics, gossip, sports, sex, and every other elusive dragon we chase to avoid being present with what’s actually here: our companions and our feelings. Of those that do plant their flag, I see very few people that maintain their happiness after the novelty of their courageous self-denial fades.
I just feel better when I’m stimulated, even more so when it comes during a temporary redirection of my consciousness from my thoughts to my senses.
I like smoking alone.
He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
We’ve all seen the accelerating erosion of privacy. We’ve all seen reputations fall into oblivion within hours or even minutes of a viral information outbreak. Sensationalism, scandal, suicide… the stakes have never been higher.
I decided to try to get ahead of that curve by voluntarily discarding my own privacy and letting my reputation — over which I have very little control, fundamentally — sort itself out. I figured that if I’m going to pursue a very public life as a technology evangelist, political activist, and entertainer, I might as well toss my own skeletons out of the closet now while I’m still relatively unknown and insignificant in the grand scheme.
It sure beats lying awake at night, 10 or 20 years from now, thinking about the dollar signs that get attached to the deepest secrets of a high-profile person, anxiously assuming that my increasingly desperate attempts at hiding mine will fail.
Facebook is where you lie to your friends; Twitter is where you confess to strangers. — anonymous (?)
I committed a cardinal sin: I confessed my deepest secrets to everyone I could find.
I confessed to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, friends, family, and the public. I sought out every last bit of what I could identify within my psyche as pretense and fear, and I yanked it out and threw it against the (Facebook) wall. And now I’m watching this greasy wad of cynical, cognitively dissonant, judgmental hypocrisy smear its way down. I suppose it’ll eventually come to rest down on the floor along with my credibility with those who have known me the longest and deny the existence of their own polished turd.
I’m not walking back from it now. I can’t. That was the whole point.
It’s on the grid, and it will live forever: a “deathbed confessional” in pursuit of a liberated spirit long before I expect to bodily die. What I confessed cuts to the foundation of trust between two sentient beings. It’s easy to trust someone who makes us feel relaxed, safe, and loved. It’s far harder to trust someone who scares us… or more accurately, to whom we react with fear.
Shedding that fear is messy. To the exact degree that it left my mind and heart, I saw it in the faces of most — not all — around me. The small handful of those who did choose the courage to stick around, learn, and love me through it have shown themselves to be true friends with larger hearts and more open minds than I’d ever realized. At some point, you just have to choose not to be scared; you have to choose to take me at my word, to take it on faith.
As plenty of others discovered eons ago, it’s clear that there’s a Middle Way where I can experience consistent peace and trust for myself, from myself and from others. I’m not quite there yet, but I needed to commit this grievous “sin” in order to reconcile 30 years of cowering from the world.
Some of my friends call it an awakening, a sign of progress. Some of them call it obnoxious histrionics unworthy of their time. Some of them call it a disease that should be medicated away. Most of them just don’t call at all.
In the Information Age, now more than ever, the freshly-excavated truth hurts… and it mostly hurts ourselves. I just wanted to dig it out myself rather than feel victimized by someone else doing it for me.
Conservatism is the opposite of courage. It’s born of fear, a bad habit in need of breaking, a chosen mental illness and heart disease, a never-ending cycle of abuse and retribution. Victims victimize and amplify their pain. It passes from generation to generation.
Intelligence celebrates and breeds intelligence, and ignorance celebrates and breeds ignorance. If humanity is going to survive the civil war within its collective consciousness — its own cognitively dissonant apocalyptic psychosis — we all have to remember the single creative force underlying what is here and now and ignore the one thing that is consistently destructive and objectively unreal: our ego.
We’re going to need over 6 billion individuals to choose to open their hearts, increase their intelligence, and raise their own consciousness before we go extinct as a species. It’s a personal choice with every breath and every heart beat; acting from that place inspires that choice in others.
(Some will say this is not the time. I disagree. This is the time when every mixed emotion needs to find voice.)
Since his arrest in January, 2011, I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer. He…
I’ve been nowhere near as productive to humanity’s pursuit of ever-freer information as Aaron Swartz was, but I strongly identify with what seem to have been his guiding principles. I don’t want something like this to happen to me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to hide from the bullies.
I have, with great concern, watched helplessly as this insidious disease has brought immeasurable chaos and pain into the lives of countless males and their families. Its effects ripple through time in a never-ending cycle. I am finally taking a stand in an attempt to raise awareness of this exclusively male, often deadly, always annoying condition.
In response to varying degrees of stress from external stimuli, a sufferer of SVS spontaneously grows a metaphysical vagina containing an uncomfortable amount of sand, and he attempts to relieve his discomfort by kicking the sand in someone else’s face. His victims are frequently other men. Sadly, this simply perpetuates the unabated spread of SVS.
Common symptoms of SVS include:
Sadly, many well-meaning attempts at self-medication and professional assistance fail utterly. The only known cures are Growing a Pair, Shutting the Fuck Up, and Going Out to Dance With and Listen To Your Female and Gay Friends. These are monumentally difficult tasks to be undertaken by any modern manly-man, to be sure.
What makes me an expert on this mysterious disease? I am a lifelong sufferer.
Break the silence; break the cycle.
Parents, talk to your sons about SVS before it’s too late.
see also: Butthurt